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Cinereous Harrier
Circus cinereus

Status: Lower risk

Population Trend: Unknown.

Other Names: Cinereous Marsh-harrier, Gray Harrier.

Circus cinereus
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Distribution: Neotropical.  Locally in COLOMBIA (Cundinamarca) and ECUADOR (Carchi to Cazar) south along the Andes through PERU, BOLIVIA, southern BRAZIL, URUGUAY, and eastern PARAGUAY, to southern ARGENTINA, CHILE, and TIERRA DEL FUEGO; FALKLAND ISLANDS. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Treated by Hellmayr and Conover (1949) as a race of C. cyaneus, but more recent authors (Mayr and Short 1970, Stresemann and Amadon 1979, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Thiollay 1994, Simmons 2000) have treated the two forms as a superspecies.

Movements: Partial migrant (Bildstein 2006). Also an altitudinal migrant in some areas. Birds breeding on Tierra del Fuego migrate north to the South American mainland in the austral winter (Humphrey et al. 2004), and most individuals in southernmost populations migrate northward to more temperate regions of central Chile and Argentina (Couve and Vidal 2004), or even Peru and Bolivia (Ortiz and Capllonch (2007).

Habitat and Habits: Occurs in high mountains in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, but is found regularly in open areas, grasslands, savannas, and cattail marshes in lowlands and coastal areas in the southern portion of range. Usually found singly, or in pairs. more....

Food and Feeding Behavior: Feeds on rodents, small birds, frogs, and insects, which it takes from the ground. Also feeds on carrion. Quarters low over marshes or grasslands like other harriers, with long glides between short series of wingbeats. Seldom perches. more....

Breeding: The nest is placed in grass, or on a platform among reeds in a marsh. Clutch size is 3-4 eggs, which are pale blue or bluish-white and unmarked. This species is territorial, but males are polygamous (Couve and Vidal 2004). more....

Conservation: Widespread and quite common in the southern portion of its range, but scarce or declining in Colombia and Ecuador for unknown reasons. May be increasing its range in some other areas in response to deforestation. Categorized as a species of "Least Concern" by BirdLife International. more....

Important References: 
Amadon, D. 1961. Relationships of the Cinereous Harrier. Auk 78:256-257.
Baladrón, A., M.S. Bó, and A. Melizia. 2007. (Abstract) Time activity
  patterns of breeding Cinereous Harriers (Circus cinereus) in southeastern
  Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. Pp. 262 in K.L. Bildstein, D.R. Barber,
  and A. Zimmerman (eds.), Neotropical ornithology. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary,
  Orwigsburg, PA.
Bierregaard, R.O. 1994. Cinereous Marsh-harrier. P. 139 in del Hoyo, J.,
  A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2.
  New World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Bó, M.S., S.M. Cicchino, and M.M. Martinez. 2000. Diet of breeding
  Cinereous Harriers (Circus cinereus) in southeastern Buenos Aires Province,
  Argentina. Journal of Raptor Research 34:237-241.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Figueroa, R.A., and E.S. Corales. 1999. Food habits of the Cinereous
  Harrier (Circus cinereus) in the Araucana, southern Chile. Journal of Raptor
  Research 33:264-267.
Housse, R.-P.É. 1948. Les oiseaux du Chili. Masson & Cie, Éditeurs, Paris.
Jiménez, J.E., and F.M. Jaksic. 1988. Ecology and behavior of southern
  South American Cinereous Harriers, Circus cinereus. Revista Chilena de
  Historia Natural 61:199-208.
Narosky, S., and D. Yzurieta. 1973. [Nesting of the Cinereous Harrier in
  the zone of San Vicente (Pcia. de Buenos Aires).] Hornero 11:172-176.
Saggese, M.D., and E.R. de Lucca. 1995. [Reproduction of the Cinereous
  Harrier Circus cinereus in Patagonian Argentina.] Hornero 14:21-26.
Simmons, R. 2000. Harriers of the world: their behaviour and ecology.
  Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Sites of Interest:
Cinereous Harrier photos.
Cinereous Harrier
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Cabanne, Gustavo Sebastian
De Lucca, Eduardo Raul
Jaksic, Fabián
Kusch, Alejandro
Leveau, Lucas
Marin, Manuel
Scott, Don

Last modified: 1/11/2010

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2020. Species account: Cinereous Harrier Circus cinereus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 25 Sep. 2020

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